For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
I read this passage from Paul’s letter to the Romans and my first thought was this is a very early example of Stephen Covey’s Habit number six, Synergize, or the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
It’s one of the first references in the Bible that I noticed about teamwork.
Paul is making the reference to the Church, the followers of Christ as a body and like our own bodies the arms have their own function and the legs have theirs. The eyes see, the ears hear, etc., etc.
As with our own bodies, each member can only perform a limited number of tasks. The arms can reach but without the hands the arms cannot grab or pick up what they are reaching for. The arms and the hands can reach and pickup, but without the legs they can’t move anything very far.
Without the eyes the arms and hands can’t find the object to pick up and the legs would stumble as they try to move the object.
Paul is telling everyone not to judge any member of the team because of what they can’t do. Each member does something for the team that you can’t do, and what they do serves the purpose of the team.
Paul is speaking to the members of the newly formed Church, the followers of Jesus Christ. But Paul is also talking about us as a species, and mankind.
Paul is telling us don’t get so full of yourself just because you’re good at something, and don’t think less of those who can’t do what you can do. Why, because there is something they can do that you can’t do.
We have all been given our unique gifts from God, all of which serves a purpose, but through our vanity we lose sight of our gift and working with others and their gift.
Paul is telling us all to come together, realize we are all one people. He is telling us to maximize each other’s strengths while minimizing each other’s weaknesses. We all have them.
It’s a nice thought but unfortunately vanity keeps us apart.
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